Press Release

Oscar-winner, UNC Alum Louise Fletcher to Receive PlayMakers Award

For immediate release: Oct. 23, 2007


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Oscar Winner, UNC Alum Louise Fletcher To Receive

PlayMakers Award at 20th Anniversary Gala



CHAPEL HILL At the 20th annual PlayMakers Ball on Saturday, November 10, PlayMakers Repertory Company will honor actress and UNC alumna Louise Fletcher with the PlayMakers Distinguished Achievement Award. Fletcher, winner of both the Academy and Golden Globe Awards, joins a distinguished group of honorees representing all disciplines in the theatre arts including actors Jack Palance, Eva Marie Saint, Faye Dunaway and Hume Cronyn, New York Times critic Frank Rich, costume designer William Ivey Long, director Gene Saks, and Broadway composer and lyricist Richard Adler.

            The lavish, black-tie PlayMakers Ball, held at the historic Carolina Inn, is a fixture on the social calendar and the largest fund-raising gala in the state. Its fundamental purpose is to underwrite production costs and artist salaries for the nonprofit, professional theatre in residence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Louise Fletcher is perhaps best known for her portrayal of the tyrannical Nurse Ratched in the film “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” for which she won both the 1975 American and British Academy Awards for Best Actress. A versatile and productive actress whose work spans nearly five decades, her ties to North Carolina run deep. She is a 1957 graduate of the Department of Dramatic Art at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a self-described “Playmaker” who trained with late UNC professor Foster Fitz-Simons and acted in the outdoor drama “Unto These Hills” in Cherokee.

Of her training in Chapel Hill, Fletcher mused, “One of the best lessons I learned was through my experience working as a Playmaker. I dug ditches to lay the cable in the Forest Theatre. I built sets and moved them. I learned how to stage-manage. All these jobs gave me a healthy attitude about the big picture.”

After graduation, Fletcher moved to Hollywood, landing roles in the classic television series “Bat Masterson,” “Lawman,” “Maverick,” “77 Sunset Strip,” “Wagon Train,” “The Untouchables” and “Perry Mason.”

Her film credits include Robert Altman’s “Thieves Like Us,” Neil Simon’s “The Cheap Detective,” Lewis Teague’s “The Lady in Red,” “Brainstorm,” “The Boy Who Could Fly,” “Nobody’s Fool,” “Two Moon Junction,” “Blue Steel” and “Blind Vision.” “Brainstorm,” filmed in North Carolina in 1981, marked the first time Fletcher had returned to the state since graduation.   

Fletcher recently appeared on the small screen in the CBS drama “Joan of Arcadia” for which she was nominated for an Emmy for Best Guest Actress On a Drama Series. Prior, she appeared on David E. Kelley’s series “The Practice.” Other TV credits include recurring roles in “Picket Fences,” “Profiler” and “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.” She also starred in the TV movies “Second Serve” with Vanessa Redgrave, “J. Edgar Hoover,” “The Karen Carpenter Story,” “In a Child’s Name,” “Someone Else’s Child,” “Sins of the Mind” and “The Devil’s Arithmetic,” among others.

When not working, Fletcher is an art dealer and recently completed a decade-long renovation of a farmhouse in southwest France. Fletcher has served on the board of the NIH Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders and many other organizations for the deaf. Both of her parents were hearing and speech impaired and led very successful lives. Her father was a charismatic storyteller and Episcopal missionary and her mother was a gifted mimic who encouraged her daughter’s acting career.

The 2007 PlayMakers Ball theme is “A Designer’s Dream.” A limited number of $500 tickets are still available by contacting 919-452-8417 or

Guests will dance to the music of Peter Duchin and his orchestra and savor a gourmet meal created by Chef James Reale of the Carolina Inn. PlayMakers Ball designers include Giorgios Bakatsias, Giorgios Hospitality Group, Durham ; Kathy Buck, Purple Puddle, Chapel Hill; McKay Coble, assisted by the PlayMakers Repertory Company Production Shops, Chapel Hill; Bitty Holton, Chapel Hill; J. W. Walton, The Catering Company, Chapel Hill; and Melanie Woods, MW Design, Chapel Hill.

            Organizations interested in contributing to next year’s PlayMakers Ball fundraiser should contact Stacy Payne, Director of Development, at 919-962-2481 or For more information about PlayMakers, visit

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PlayMakers contact: Pam O’Connor, (919) 621-1230,
College of Arts and Sciences contact: Dee Reid, (919) 843-6339,